i'm not really sure what they're eating down there in texas… it could be the grilled armadillo, the famous sheetcake, or cookies smaller than your head but larger than your prostate, but the first official recording of the new jackie fly lineup sounds pretty dad-blurned good! recorded as a demo e.p. in their luxurious rehearsal space, room 36 shows some sonic limitations. when i don my magic headphones i had hear some digital crackling and a bit of unwanted distortion in some tracks. that said there's still a hefty amount of production extras to sustain multiple listens through the five tracks. as usual, the production extras augment the strong, melodic material from tad daigle and chad beck instead of trying to cover up a weakness in this area with tricks and effects. the biggest change to the jackie fly sound is the addition of brothers john and joel elkins on bass and drums, respectively. jackie fly has always been a tight band but these two play like they're attached by an umbilical cord and weave a solid groove. there's a bit more of a pop sensibility to the songs and a little less goofiness, but for the most part it's still the jackie fly you know and love.
the first track, "stop the loop", is a mid-tempo swaggering pop-rock ditty that incorporates early beatles harmonies and some great guitar tones. in a complete about-face, the listener is swept up into the swirling cacophony of "365", a daigle special. in the midst of this irresistible, body moving tempest is the eye of the storm where a sensational guitar solo tricks the listener into complacency before throwing them back into the madness. with "radio on", jackie fly capitalizes on a well-used formula of mentioning the radio in the song lyrics in a desperate attempt to get airplay. but I kid the fly… this song is loaded with instant pop appeal and an ultra-melodic chorus that in a just world would be all over the radio. "do it again" might as well be an ode to pete jacobs (a great, meandering bass line) that fulfills the jackie fly requisite for havings lots of gutsy, syncopated guitar that refuses to let you stand still. the closing song, "around" methinks appeared on the first senator dillwilly demo tape. an extended daigle guitar solo section rounds out this updated version of a long-time concert favorite.
with room 36 jackie fly continues to mature as songwriters, crafting songs that are both original and appealing examples of pop-rock. you can download the entire album from www.mp3.com/jackiefly or you can buy an official pressed copy from the band when they make a visit to the area for two shows on march 29 and 30.
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, January 2002.